Detailed presentation of the e-recruitment project M@rsouin project 2006.

, by Nathalie Pichot, Nicolas Guéguen

The objective of this research project is to study the issue of evaluation of job offers by potential applicants and the assessment of online CV’s by recruiting offices or companies.

Significance for theoretical research.

The objective in terms of theory is to apprehend processes and characteristics of data processing, linked to the particular case of processing online job offers and CV’s.

This work would provide theoretical data for the understanding of the cognitive mechanisms of decision making in recruitment. Besides, it would enable to better define the correspondence and misunderstandings between the two partners within the recruitment process in relation to a job offer: the potential applicant and the one who offers the job or the recruiting officer.

The results of the planned experiments would be welcomed by the scientific journals in relation to this research area. It concerns either French journals (“Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée”, a European journal of Applied Psychology, “Revue de Psychologie du Travail ou des organisations”, journal of Work and Organisational Psychology…) or foreign journals, especially from North America (Journal of Management, Journal of Applied Social Psychology…). More professional journals could also be a source of valorisation for this study (“Le Journal de l’Emploi”, Journal of Employment Counselling…)

Significance for applied research

This research program has two expected outcomes in terms of applied research:

 To obtain scientific and theoretical data on how job seekers do analyse the offers (relevant characteristics, preferred information, central and peripheral items…). Such knowledge would enable to provide help to companies for the design of online job offers.

 To obtain data on the decision making and assessment processes used by recruiting officers when they have to select or not one or another applicant for a particular job offer or for unsolicited applications. Once again, the acquired knowledge would help the applicants to online job offers to design CV’s that optimize their probability to be positively processed by a recruiting officer or an employer.

Significance for tools development.

In this project, we cannot actually speak about tools in the technical sense. However, the objective of this research is to provide job applicants and companies in charge of broadcasting job offers with conceptual tools to reinforce the attractiveness of their numerical products: the offers for the companies, the CV for the applicants.

Project organisation.

The project will be breakdown into two sub-projects in relation to two distinct components of the recruitment process, that is to say broadcasting job offers towards potentially concerned people and the response from these target groups to these offers. Each project will be realised in partnership since the two aforementioned disciplines intervene in both sub-projects.

The objective of the first research axis is to determine the impact of computer media on the evaluation of a job offer by applicants. It consists of two experiments. The first one aims to compare paper-based job offers with online ones and thus, to assess if there are differences in terms of processing, analysis and evaluation in order to distinguish the specific aspects of the process, whereof each support is the subject. The second experiment aims to study the ergonomic factors that influence the evaluation of online job offers in order to define more precisely the characteristics of layout and not of the information content, which affects most the evaluation and processing potential applicants make of these offers.

This sub-project will be coordinated by Mr Nicolas Guéguen from the Gresico laboratory of the University of South Brittany for experiment 1 and Mrs Nathalie Pichot from LAUREPS-CRPCC laboratory of the University of Rennes 2 for experiment 2.

The second sub-project’s objective is to make recruiting officers assess online CV’s. Once again, two experiments are planned. Experiment 1 aims to compare paper-based and online CV’s and to examine the impact of one or another characteristic on the assessors’ judgement. Experiment 2 will study the impact of aesthetic and ergonomic factors of online CV’s on the recruiting officers’ assessments and decisions.

Mr Nicolas Guéguen from Gresico laboratory of the University of South Brittany will be in charge of experiment 1 and Mrs Nathalie Pichot from LAUREPS-CRPCC laboratory of the University of Rennes 2 of experiment 2.

Bibliography, state of the art.

90% of North American companies have built a website in order to post job offers, enlarge their scope of diffusion or obtain more quickly information about the potential applicants’ profile (Capelli, 2001). These objectives have been reached a priori since a recent study indicates that after the home page, the most visited page is the one dedicated to careers and job offers (Peters, 2001). Furthermore, 80% of CV’s sent are posted online (Slywotzky, 1999). Therefore, websites are becoming an essential resource for companies as well as for job seekers and, as a matter of fact, they have aroused numerous research subjects. These works have taken two orientations. One about the comparison with a traditional media of broadcasting job offers (newspapers) and another about the design and the impact of the characteristics of the websites of companies posting job offers.

This research project will be inspired by the early Anglo-Saxon works from a theoretical and methodological point of view. Indeed, it will determine if the cognitive processes in place for the design and the processing of job offers or CV’s operate as well in our culture. Sub-project 1 is a typical research of this kind. Sub-project 2 takes a more original approach inasmuch as there is no experimental work for this kind of research question. As a matter of fact, conceptual contributions are more likely to come from this sub-project whereas sub-project 1 would enable to confirm or invalidate the relevance of existing empirical data and theoretical models from the Anglo-Saxon literature.